|Spielzeugmuseum photo by Andreas Praefcke|
|Writing on the walls|
|Building amazing marble runs|
|Constructing fabulous feats of engineering|
So far, so perfect. But I did think that the museum missed a trick in terms of getting grown-ups involved in the play. Consider this notice, and how my wife interpreted it:
Play is the only thing that makes man complete
A couple of parents were helping their kids with the construction toys, but I also saw lots of other mums and dads who were very bored indeed. My kids are really too old to need much help from me, so of course I sat soberly on the sidelines while they had all the fun.
Yes, dear reader, I’m afraid I dived straight in and played on my own. Here is my multi-level marble run:
And I also built this, er, thing:
I don’t know if I felt more comfortable playing with children’s toys because of being a kids’ writer and therefore feeling closer to that mindset. Or maybe it’s because I’m childish? Ironically, I don’t always feel that comfortable in social situations, so I can only conclude that there’s something about the play environment that makes me feel secure. I warmly remember scampering all over soft play areas before my daughters got too old to need an escort. And “warmly” is an appropriate word – climbing up, down and through narrow padded spaces was always an excellent workout!
Perhaps I’m being unfair to other adults. After all, a couple of alcoholic drinks seem to bring out the playful side in anyone (although it’s sometimes followed by a destructive tantrum unmatched by any two-year-old). And what is an event like Comic Con, if not an excuse for several thousand adults to play at dressing up as their fictional idols?
While children will play anywhere, perhaps adults need a permissive space in which to relax and allow themselves to play – an Xbox, a board game, an adult colouring-in book or even Troy and Abed’s Dreamatorium from the TV series Community:
(Incidentally, I could probably write a whole post about Troy and Abed, two characters who spend their whole lives playing, in preference to “boring” adult responsibilities)
For this blog post, my permissive space was an A6 notebook on a British Airways flight back from Salzburg. I hope the results of my word play have pleased you, but if not, it doesn’t matter – play is always a journey and never a destination.